ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus -- "We just got loose. I tried to go by the 14 and he was pinching me down pretty good, and I just went in there a little too hard and got loose and washed up into him and then finally just lost it. It's...
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus -- "We just got loose. I tried to go by the 14 and he was pinching me down pretty good, and I just went in there a little too hard and got loose and washed up into him and then finally just lost it. It's just an idiot mistake. I usually don't try to make those kind of mistakes, but this is gonna cost us pretty bad with only about seven or eight races left."
DID YOU FEEL ANYTHING FROM BEHIND? "No, when I got in beside him that always takes the wind off your spoiler and I knew that, but I was trying to get by him to get away from the mess I was in. It's just a bad deal. I just got loose and tore it all to pieces. That's not what I had in mind for today."
RICKY CRAVEN --32-- Tide Taurus -- "It was really unusual. The cars just don't have any grip today for whatever reason. We were just running terrible on Thursday and got ourselves back there and it's just the worst place to race. It's absolutely the worst place to race because you spend a majority of your time dodging bullets. You get back there playing defensive and it's just no fun racing that way." THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. "No, there was nowhere to go and there's no grip. Had we been able to get the Tide Ford in the top 10, we would have had clean air and probably settled in, but it's very difficult racing back there."
STUART KIRBY --75-- Combos Taurus -- "I messed up on the restart and got way back there. I'm gonna put this one on me because I got back there with those guys and they were racing real hard. We could have been up front where we should have been and we got back there and got in a wreck. I didn't have anywhere to go. That was good experience out there. I was able to race with some good guys and learn some stuff. I was just trying to be patient. We had a good car. I got a little tight, but we could have made some adjustments as soon as we got back in and been a real good car. It's just a bad deal for the Combos Ford Taurus. We're proud to have them on board this week and maybe we can come back and run a couple more races in the Winston Cup Series."
MIKE WALLACE --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus -- "I drove down into turn three and I guess it broke the front pulley off. I thought it cut a right-front tire down, but it knocked the power steering out and then knocked all the belts off. I thought we cut down a right-front tire, so I came down pit road to put tires on it, but it wasn't that, it was a motor failure. It just broke a part on the outside of the motor. We had great Penske horsepower all day long. My hat's off to the Mobil 1 team. They did a phenomenal job all day. We had a race car and they knew we were here, that's all I can say."
YOU WERE STRONG ALL DAY. "I always thought I could do it I just needed a race car to get it done in. When a crew blows off 14-and-a-half to 15-second pit stops time-in and time-out, and you've got a good race car, you can finally show what you can do. I'm just thrilled and I thank the Penske organization, Mobil 1, Sony and Snap-On -- all those folks -- for believing in me and giving me a shot. We'll got to Martinsville and see if we can do it again."
DOES THIS GET YOUR FIRED UP? "I think I did a pretty good job out there. My team did a phenomenal job and we just had a part failure. There's nothing we can do about that. We ran good. We were just biding our time. Rusty was right there in front of us and there was no need in pushing him. We were trying to work our way to the front. We agreed we were gonna pit together and everything else, so we were just gonna ride along and catch the 99 and go for it at the end."
DO YOU FEEL ANYMORE PRESSURE NOW TO PERFORM? "No, to be very honest with you, I feel a lot less pressure right now. First of all, to have Penske Racing call you to give you an opportunity to drive their race car made a statement in itself to me at least. I told somebody if I didn't get anymore out of this deal other than that, that was enough for me. I think I showed people what Mike Wallace can do today. This team is a really good race team and, hopefully, we can continue to jell for the next three, four, five races and, who knows, maybe they'll hire me for next year."
DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A CHANCE FOR THIS RIDE NEXT YEAR? "I think I showed I could get the job done and I hope that we do. I'm just happy to have the opportunity that I have at this moment."
RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus -- "We beat our fenders up on pit road. Right at the start of the race, at that first pit stop, we pulled out of the pits and the 92 car runs into the side of us and drives us into the side of Rusty. That knocked the aerodynamics out of the car and we fought it all day."
DID YOUR PROBLEMS START ON PIT ROAD? "Yeah, that's what started our problem. What happened was we made our pit stop and we were pulling out and the 92 pulled out of his stall and drove right into my left side and I knocked into Rusty, which damaged our right side and damaged Rusty's car. Basically, both of our front fenders, which we rely on heavily for aerodynamics, were re-shaped and not to our liking. The car didn't run very good at all. That's the worst we ran all year."
A LOT OF TEAMS TALKED ABOUT TIRE INCONSISTENCY TODAY. JEFF GORDON SAID HE'S NEVER SEEN IT THIS BAD. HOW ABOUT YOU? "I'd have to ditto what he just said. At the end of the race, I think there was only one car quicker than us and that was the leader. Right before that stop, we were like two seconds a lap slower, which is about the last place car. I've never experienced it. I don't think anybody here has ever seen it to this degree, especially when you go all year and you have consistency like we had. All of a sudden, you come to one race track and everything you've ever known goes out the window."
HOW DISAPPOINTING IS IT THAT YOU STRUGGLED ON THE SAME DAY GORDON DID? "I guess you get spoiled. You have this Texaco Havoline car run so good every race and you get to where you can almost win every race, and then you come to a track like this today where you really want to do well and you have your worst race of the season right here in your backyard. That's disappointing. It could be a lot worse. Jeff could have won the race and we could have finished 21st, so it's not totally all bad."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus -- "That was a good run. These tracks get hot and slippery and you can't run with those guys. They make so much downforce. I haven't complained all year because we haven't run well enough to complain, but our balance is good, we just didn't have grip. They keep giving those guys stuff and we've got a box stock car that's disadvantage. But it was a good run, nonetheless. I'm real proud of my guys. We had great pit stops and had a good run today. On long runs we'd get beat. When it would get slippery, the balance was good but you just didn't have the grip you needed."
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAND? "It was the damndest thing. We came off pit road and went down the back straightaway after a caution and a big piece of something came up and hit it and bent it all the way back to my wrist. It hurt like hell. It doesn't hurt now. It feels odd, but it doesn't hurt. I really hurt for about 10 minutes and then it went away, but I've never had that happen. I had a friend once that was driving a modified with an open-face helmet and he had a piece of rubber go down his throat, so I guess that's better than this."
YOU SHOULD GET IN THE TOP 10 IN POINTS WITH BENSON'S PROBLEM. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? "It means a lot. We're not quitters. We fight really hard. Mark's right there with us in a really tight race for 10th. We're not quitters and we're gonna keep fighting. We need everybody in this garage to understand what kind of team we are. We haven't performed this year at the level we're used to performing, but we've still had the effort and I'm proud of that. It's harder to work together hard when things aren't going well than it is when things are going well, and our guys have done a great job of sticking together through thick and thin and I'm real proud of them for that."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus -- "It was the craziest thing in the world. We had a pit stop, a normal pit stop. It was real loose at the beginning of the race, but we kept adjusting on it. I left pit road and as I left pit road, Ricky Rudd comes pulling out and, it wasn't his fault, but we just collided on pit road. I couldn't believe it. I said, 'Man, not us two again.' He didn't do anything wrong and I didn't do anything wrong, but it got us a lap down. That blew the left-front tire out and I didn't know it. All of a sudden, I had the wheel cocked to the right and I said, 'Man, I've got the toe-in screwed up,' so we started messing with that and finally got it all right from the impact on pit road. We took off, got the lap back and came from 39th back up to fifth. Then the last set of tires I put on got tight. I thought I was gonna go from fifth to third, but it didn't happen. We finished seventh and gained some points."
THIS WAS KIND OF AN UNEVENTFUL RACE. "The doggone track changes so much. It's got the weirdest asphalt in the world in it. When it's hot, it's slick and when it's cold it's tight. Man, I tell you, it's tough trying to chase the chassis at this place. I like it here a lot, but, man, it'll make you pull your hair out trying to figure the chassis setup out."
DALE JARRETT --88-- UPS Taurus -- "We could have been a little better than that. I never got the car freed up enough. I don't know if the track tightened up there towards the end, but we loosened it up and were still too tight. We just never could get it right through the center. We were good, just not quite good enough there at the end." HOW ARE YOU PHYSICALLY? "Compared to what I went through earlier this year, no, that wasn't pain. That was all right. Our guys worked extremely hard on the inside of the car and made it as comfortable as could be. I'm glad to come out with a top 10, but I would have liked to have had a top five."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACING TODAY? "I was hoping early in the day we could run for a while. Our car was pretty good and we could get some people laps down, but we kept having cautions and cautions breed more cautions. Then it got strung out and that was kind of it. It looked like Sterling and Tony were the class of the field and the rest of us were just kind of battling for what we could get."
WAS IT ODD TO START THIS RACE KNOWING YOUR COUNTRY HAD JUST BOMBED ANOTHER? "That's a little strange. Once again, it puts things in perspective. I just hope we're as good at war as Sterling was today and we can kick their tail."
KEVIN LEPAGE --7-- NationsRent Taurus -- "We had an excellent day. It all started on Thursday when we qualified fifth with this NationsRent Taurus. The guys worked all day. We were off last night in happy hour, but Buddy Barnes, Scott Lepage, we all put our heads together last night and early this morning we came up with some changes and the car was absolutely flawless. We'd get a little bit tighter towards the end of our runs, but we just kept working on it and got it real good. We got beat up a little bit in the pits, but the guys tried real hard and I'm just real happy to come home with a 13th-place finish."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR FIRST STOP? "We just did gas only. We got out of sync and we put four tires on and then we just topped the car off. The car was flawless on old tires, so we were just doing some pit strategy. It worked out and now we'll just go to Martinsville."
YOU WERE SMOKING THE LAST 20 LAPS OR SO. WHAT WAS IT? "We had a breather fall of the motor, but that Robert Yates motor ran and was strong all day. With a little bit of smoke, we just said, 'Hey, let's just back off and finish this thing.' The guys did a great job and we're just looking forward to next week at Martinsville."
SO YOU'LL BE IN THE CAR NEXT WEEK? "Yeah. Some people are telling me I'll be in it the rest of the year and some are saying I'll be in at Martinsville, so we'll see what happens."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus -- "We hung in there pretty good today. We had one segment that we got way behind on, unfortunately, and we made our way back to ninth. We weren't strong enough to go further than that with the amount of time that we had, but we had a car that was capable of finishing better than that if we had a flawless day. We had everything but a flawless day. The team did great on pit road today and it was a good result."
Car Owner --7-- NationsRent Taurus --
HOW ABOUT YOUR DRIVER TODAY? "The driver did great. This NationsRent Ford Taurus was pretty awesome. We had a miscue in the pits. We had some lugnuts fall off a wheel and we got behind, but we had a top-five car today. We finished 13th and we're pretty happy with that. Kevin did a great job and the crew did a great job, so we'll go on to Martinsville."
YOU SAID DEPENDING ON HOW SUNDAY WENT WOULD DECIDE YOUR DRIVER. WHAT DID TODAY TELL YOU? "We're sticking with Kevin for now and I'm pretty sure we'll probably run the rest of the year. With what he did today, there's no reason to make any changes. He likes us and we like him, so we'll just keep chugging."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DEWALT Power Tools Taurus -- "It's actually amazing we finished that well. It was a disappointing run for us day because early on we went down a lap and then got it back. We fought our way up through the middle of the pack, even though I was tight as anything all day. The guys did a great job in the pits today, otherwise, we would have been worse."
RYAN NEWMAN --02-- ALLTEL Taurus -- "It was pretty eventful at times and uneventful at others. We started out pretty decent and stayed in the top five for quite a while, but gradually we had some not-so-good pit stops. That deal with Jimmie Johnson where I spun down into the infield, the starter motor wouldn't engage onto the flywheel. I was sitting there and it wouldn't crank. That put us a lap down and kind of put us behind the eight ball for the rest of the day." STILL, TODAY WAS GOOD EXPERIENCE. "Definitely. Just to be able to finish about 496 miles today was really good for us. It gave the team an opportunity to learn about pit stops and things like that, that we can make ourselves better at."